the ultimate café guide to London: the coolest cafés + best brunch in England’s capital city

London is like all the best cities: full of things to do, sights to see, great shopping, delicious food, and trendy coffee spots. It's been dubbed 'most Instagram-able city in the world', after all, so it comes as no surprise that it’s filled to the brim with Instagram-y interiors, delicious cold brew, and hipster hangouts serving up avo toast.

This post aims to be the ultimate guide to the very best brunch joints and cutest cafés on a seemingly endless list that continues to grow with every trip to the city. While I have yet to find a decent flat white in the capital city, I have enjoyed many a brunch and have heaps of breakfast photos to show for it, though some in this post

NOTE: This post has been updated from its original 2017 publishing. It combines new photos with old {cringe-y} pics, but all the information is up to date!


read on for my list of the coolest, cutest, + overall best cafés in london


A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

Kahaila

Admittedly, I found this place while I was lost. I stumbled in wearily to ask for directions, then felt guilty so I grabbed a vegan baked good. It was proof that sometimes getting lost leads to great surprises. The inside features artwork from local creatives and large tables suited to the community ethos. I only later found out that Kahaila is actually a Christian café. Despite not being religiously affiliated myself, I adore that Kahaila contributes to four different local charities.

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Shoreditch High Street

ADDRESS: 135 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB

look mum no hands

Look Mum No Hands Café and Workshop was a completely new experience for me in London.

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes, but they cut the WiFi from 12 PM until 2 PM for the lunch wave and have designated seating for people who are working. Respect the rules and you’ll be fine.

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Old Street

ADDRESS: 49 Old Street, London EC1V 9HX

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

attendant

Attendant serves breakfasts and light lunches for those in London. The interior is filled with plants on shelves, hanging from the ceiling, and sitting at every table.

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: 

ADDRESS:  74 Great Eastern St, Hackney, London EC2A 3JL

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

a wanted man

My visit to A Wanted Man back in 2016 featured three of my favourite things: exposed brick, brunch, and time with a loved one. The food was good, but the aesthetics were really what made it recommendation worthy. There is a salon upstairs, so you can get a blowout after you’ve finished eating; an odd sort of perk of the place.

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes, though plugs are limited

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Sloane Square

ADDRESS:  330 King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5UR

cereal killer café

The Cereal Killer Café opened in 2014 in the trendy Bricklane area of London. This might be the quirkiest café in this post, since they literally offer 120 varieties of cereal for customers to eat. All the cereal options combined with the quirky interior make this place a super fun stop for breakfast. I had the Cocoa Puffs mixed with the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and regret nothing.

WORKER FRIENDLY: No

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Aldgate East

ADDRESS:  139 Brick Lane, London E1

Peggy Porschen

Known for its pink exterior and cascading floral arrangements, Peggy Porschen Cakes is the perfect place for a sunny morning spent with your girls. It's more a cake and tea or coffee shop than actual brunch or breakfast food, but who can say “no” to delicious cupcakes at a place filled with {traditionally} feminine details and flowers everywhere. The bicycle next to the entrance is commonly a prop in the background of Instagram photos.

WORKER FRIENDLY: No

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Sloane Square or Victoria Station

ADDRESS:  30 Elizabeth Street, London SW1W 9RB

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

Farm Girl Café

Located on Notting Hill's famous Portobello Road is Farm Girl Café, a dreamy farm to table café complete with options for vegan, veggies, and the gluten-intolerant. Farm Girl has quickly gained a reputation for its creative takes on café classics and its Instagram-worthy aesthetics. Some of Farm Girl’s most off-kilter offerings include rose lattes and pomegranate seed avo toast.  The white walls of Farm Girl's courtyard contrast against its bright and funky food, making it the right place for a photo. 

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes, though seating is very limited so be aware of overstaying your welcome

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Notting Hill Gate {follow Portobello Road}

ADDRESS: 59a Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 3DB

draughts

Draughts is London's first board game café, though, in truth, it’s more like a bar than a coffee shop. Draughts has over 600 games to choose from and serves up craft beers that are divine. This may not be the best coffee in town, but it sure delivers in regards to fun atmosphere.

WORKER FRIENDLY: No, the environment is more “play” centered

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Hoxton

ADDRESS:  337 Acton Mews, London E8

THE BEST CAFE GUIDE TO LONDON

sketch

Perhaps the most photographed café in London is sketch {which is always lowercase, I found out}. sketch is an art-lover’s heaven. Those who love details and design will relish in all the beauty that sketch has to offer. Unfortunately, you pay for what you get…meaning it’s expensive, but worth it. The pink cushioned seating and the egg-shaped pod loos are worth the trip alone, though the macarons and other innovative menu items are divine too.

WORKER FRIENDLY: No

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Oxford Circus

ADDRESS:  9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

Paper & Cup

This café holds a special place in my heart. It's a non-profit establishment, which means coffee and pastries are super cheap! There isn't much on offer as far as large breakfasts are concerned, but if you get full on a muffin and a coffee, this spot is just right. Your purchases fuel a good cause as well as your body, so you can feel good about spending your GBP here.

WORKER FRIENDLY: No

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Old Street

ADDRESS: 18 Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch, London E2 7JP

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

Kaffeine

After a day spent meditating with my friend Sandy on a double-decker bus, I stumbled right on Kaffeine near Regent Street. It was the quiet atmosphere inside the place that really put a smile on my face. Not only was it peaceful, especially considering its central location, but limited seating made Kaffeine feel extra cozy. Like I was a part of an exclusive little club or something. 

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Regent Street

ADDRESS: 66 Great Titchfield, W1W 7QJ

aida

AIDA is a café for all things “health”. The industrial-style café and store has long, wooden tables and floor-to-ceiling windows. Basically, it’s dreamy. Every health nut in London should be aware of the turmeric lattes, fresh smoothies, and detox juices available at AIDA, but some might be surprised to know that they also offer classic coffees. The people at AIDA are super friendly and willing to let you work in peace and quiet unless an event is going on.

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: 

ADDRESS: 133 SHOREDITCH HIGH STREET, LONDON, E1 6JE

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

Shoreditch Grind + the many other Grind cafés of London

I have been a frequent visitor to the many “Grind” cafés that exist around London. My favourite two are Clerkenwell Grind and Shoreditch Grind, though Soho Grind will do in a pinch. I must say this was one of the coolest atmospheres I've eaten breakfast at in London. Loud music blasts in the café, which has large windows that are perfect for people-watching. It has a hipster-vibe, minus the pretentiousness that often comes with that.

WORKER FRIENDLY: Seating is limited, but there’s good WiFi if you’re willing to work on the front window bench.

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Old Street {Exit 4, out the exit to your left}

ADDRESS: 213 Old Street, Shoreditch, London EC1V 9NR

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

Timberyard

Finding yourself thirsty for a coffee or in need of a workspace in Seven Dials? Timberyard may be just your the ticket! My location of choice is the Seven Dials establishment. 

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Holborn Station 

ADDRESS: 7 Upper St Martin's Ln, London WC2H 9DL

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

Chez Antoinette

If you're looking for a place in Covent Garden where you can enjoy the sounds of live entertainment while snacking on French-inspired cakes and a pot of tea or delicious coffee...Chez Antoinette is ideal. Sit outside if the weather permits and you'll hear whatever performer is in the market square {for me, it was an Australian comedian}. 

WORKER FRIENDLY: No

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Charing Cross {8 minute walk, Bakerloo Line} or Covent Garden {3 minute walk, Piccadilly Line}

ADDRESS: The Piazza, London WC2E 8RE

wren

I found Wren on a day when I most definitely needed the pick-me-up that comes with finding a hidden gem in the city. Inside an old church, Wren sits as a quiet café with not much to offer in terms of food, but plenty regarding the coffee and tea are standard, as is the

WORKER FRIENDLY: No

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Charing Cross

ADDRESS: 114 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BJ 

Ginger + White

Hampstead Heath is a ways outside of Central London, but that doesn't mean it's void of cute spots to stop in for breakfast. Ginger and White is a beautiful café on a quiet side street in Hampstead, only a 10-minute walk from Hampstead Heath and the Kenwood House. The food is made fresh daily and produce is guaranteed to be locally-sourced from British farms. 

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Hampstead

ADDRESS: 4a-5a Perrins Court, London NW3 1QS

IMG_65362.jpg

Diddy's

If you want a café in London where people won't bother you and you can spend your whole morning listening to Tupac and Kendrick over avo toast {the best I’ve had in London} and a decent flat white, Diddy's is the place to go. It's a tiny little corner spot with a beautiful green and pink aesthetic. The prices here are so incredibly reasonable, especially given the impeccable quality. 

The women who owns and operates Diddy’s was really kind and smiley. She kept dancing the entire time she was cooking behind the tiny white counter. She also made me the best smashed avo I’ve had in London. And I have had a lot of smashed avo in this city.

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Bethnal Green

ADDRESS: 69 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 4RG

PALM VAULTS BRUNCH

PALM VAULTS BRUNCH

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

Palm Vaults

This is my one of my absolute favourite cafés in the city. Probably in the top five of a long list of London brunch recommendations. Palm Vaults is a hole in the wall in Hackney covered with plants, exposed brick, and millennial pink details. Sandy and I met up for brunch here and could not stop smiling, laughing, and photographing. The atmosphere paired with the food made it all dreamy. As a bonus, the playlist here was top notch. There is a no laptop policy here, making it a strictly brunch, no business establishment.

Palm Vaults is actually a bit tricky to find. I used Maps.Me and ended up walking passed it about five times before figuring out it was the narrow store next to a dollar shop. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re new to the Hackney area.

WORKER FRIENDLY: No

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Bethnal Green or Hackney Wick {overground}

ADDRESS: 41 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HY

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

SERATA HALL

This has quickly become my favourite work place in London. A big call considering all the options available to me. Right around the corner from my old haunt, Shoreditch Grind, sits Serata Hall. The industrial interior, painted white and filled with botanicals, makes it my absolute dream work spot. What more could a freelancer want that ample outlets, beautiful surroundings, an indie playlist, and delicious menu offering? Nothing. The answer is nothing. But, that’s not the best part. For 10 you can enjoy unlimited coffee and tea all day long! It’s a dream for those who need to get work done online.

WORKER FRIENDLY: Yes, definitely!

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Old Street

ADDRESS: 207 Old Street, London EC1V 9NR

A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON

teatulia tea bar

This is the right place to come for a cup of tea in peace and quiet. Teatulia, though right in Seven Dials, is so quiet. The fun staff are extra friendly, something that isn’t always a given in London. I recently hosted an event here and felt proud knowing the café and bar only serves organic, fair trade tea from Bangladesh.

WORKER FRIENDLY: No, WiFi is too shoty

CLOSEST TUBE STATION: Charing Cross

ADDRESS: 36 Neal Street, London WC2H 9PS


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A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON: the coolest, cutest, and overall best places for coffee + brunch in London
A GUIDE TO THE BEST CAFES IN LONDON